Chatwin on the Web
- A well-organised and informative site including
an authoritative bibliography and numerous links.
- This site is intended as a focal point for those interested
in the life and work of Bruce Chatwin. For in depth discussion of
Chatwin, consider joining the Bruce
Chatwin Mailing List. This site is being continuously updated
so please keep checking for the latest Chatwinia.
Richmond Review, Book Review, Bruce Chatwin, by Nicholas Shakespeare
- A review of what is beyond doubt Chatwin's best biography
results in what is, arguably, the web's most illuminating effort.
- The long journey that encompassed Chatwin's short life
receives its first full exposition in this remarkable book. Not only
has Shakespeare retraced the maze of Chatwin's globetrotting, he has
succeeded in producing a coherent portrait of a man whose history
was only available hitherto through his own inventions and embellishments...
Good Writer, Of Course, But a Tiresome Man
- Jan Morris applies personal experiences of Chatwin in this
review of Suzannah Clap's biography, With Chatwin: A Portrait
of Bruce Chatwin. The opening lines read:
- Somewhere in this well-balanced memoir Susannah Clapp says
that Bruce Chatwin could be 'too much' for some people. As a person,
he was decidedly too much for me. Snobbism, equally camp and genuine;
showy connoisseurship of a quirky kind; the deadly energy of a raconteur;
the insensitivity of the tuft-hunter; a gift for mimicry; sexual ambiguity
of the Strength Through Joy kind... - all these characteristics, distilled
into one very clever, exuberant and apparently ageless being, made
all too rich a mixture for an unsophisticated provincial.
Chatwin: A Tribute
- Another very personal biography, this one by Kerry
Ross Boren, is lengthy, in depth and will not leave the impression
Chatwin was 'too much.'
- Bruce was a friend of mine. Probably no other person
I have ever known had a more profound effect upon my career as a writer,
or upon me personally. Certainly I am not alone in this. The novelist
Andrew Harvey noted in a New York Times review of Bruce's last travel
book, "The Songlines" (1987), "Nearly every writer
of my generation in England has wanted, at some point, to be Bruce
Chatwin, wanted to be talked about, as he is, with raucous envy; wanted,
above all, to have written his books."
Lyman Family, A Story, by Bruce Chatwin
- The text of this story, from the Chatwin anthology, What
Am I Doing Here, appears in full, alongside a parallel version
annotated for accuracy. There is also a link to a Mel Lyman
fan page. The webmaster writes:
- For whatever his reasons, Chatwin, apparently well-known
as a travel writer, has created a story which contains many clear
inaccuracies, does not match most published descriptions of life on
Fort Hill, and which seems to intentionally cast Mel Lyman and the
members of the community in the worst possible light.
Bruce Chatwin Bibliography
- An exhaustive and thoroughly organised bibliography focussing
on literary and academic criticism (remember, not all criticism is
negative) of Chatwin's works. In addition to all
those citations, there is one quote.
- "I should set down on paper a résumé
of the ideas, quotations and encounters which had amused and obsessed
me; and which I hoped would shed light on what is, for me, the question
of all questions: the nature of human restlessness."
-- The Songlines
Literary Encyclopedia: The Songlines
- A review of The Songlines within a post-modernist
context. If you're not comfortable with poly-syllabic post-modernist
jargon, this might be a bit of a slog. The biography
offered by this site, on the other hand, is factual and accessible,
if somewhat uninspired, but does provide links to reviews of Chatwin's
other books. A taste of the review:
- Chatwin’s text is more than simply another travelogue
with a number of anthropological and ecological frills designed to present
a healthy and peaceful utopia of “noble savages” as a viable
alternative to western destruction. Stylistically and structurally,
Chatwin’s intention is to challenge traditional demarcations between
scientific/ethnographic and creative/fictional discourse. The reader’s
horizon of genre expectations is challenged when the narrative of the
Australian excursion among land cruisers and a host of strange but probable
characters selected from Australia’s multicultural population
is interrupted to include a substantial number of pages presenting the
narrator’s diary entries, interviews, and citations which are
quite obviously taken from the materials Chatwin himself collected when
researching his treatise on nomadology.
Chatwin in the Nomadic Spirit
- Chatwin and I explore Australia's Red Centre, the Aboriginal
Creation Myths. Includes lengthy excerpts from The Songlines
. This is in two parts, so don't forget to follow the links to Part
- Prosperity and Luck in the
Very Near Future
- The full text of Chatwin's story, The Chinese Geomancer,
from the post-humous anthology, What Am I Doing Here.